On Saturday night, Princeton became the last Division I football team to start its season, and the Tigers began it in style, bringing home the first season-opening win in Head Coach Bob Surace ’90’s five years with the program. Princeton beat Lafayette 40-7, the largest margin of victory in an opener since a 1955 win over Rutgers.
Neither team scored in the first quarter, but by halftime, the Tigers were up 23-0. Two years ago, the team had been in the same position, up 22-3 against Lehigh in a game Princeton eventually lost, 29-28.
“We have a lot of returners, so probably 45 of the guys were there when we lost to Lehigh, and the first half had looked just like that,” Surace said.
The veteran team remembered the lesson of the 2013 opener. “We sustained our energy and had some really strong plays,” Surace said. “We were able to put blinders on and just play.”
Surace said he was excited to see Trevor Osborne ‘17 on the receiving end of Chad Kanoff ’17’s first career touchdown pass. (Kanoff, in his first game as a starter, completed 20 of 31 attempts for 256 yards with one interception.) The coach also was happy to see Khamal Brown ’16, who played as a cornerback his first three years, look comfortable playing as a safety in his first game in that position.
The offensive line had an impressive debut, paving the way for more than 300 rushing yards and excelling in pass protection. “I think they only touched quarterback twice,” Surace said.
Part of that offensive line was junior tackle Mason Darrow. For Darrow, Saturday night’s win marked the end of a tremendous week. He publicly came out as gay on Tuesday, when an OutSports article featured his account of coming out to his teammates. Since then, the article has been shared on Facebook more than 26,000 times.
To top it off, Saturday night was the first time Darrow played since early in the 2014 season, when he tore his ACL against Columbia. After over months of slow rehab, Darrow was thrilled to be competing for the Tigers again.
“Honestly, it was just great to be back. That was the best I’ve ever felt walking out onto a football field,” he said.
As for the attention the OutSports article has given him, Darrow said everyone has been incredibly supportive and congratulatory, but the attention has been a little weird. Continue reading